'Ringing' in the big 5-0
Boxer Alicia Ashley spent her 50th birthday in the ring on Wednesday.
"I had a great time. I spent most of the day in the gym with my colleagues. We sparred, then they brought me a cake and toasted me. It was a lot of fun," the former World Boxing Council (WBC) Female Super Bantamweight champion said yesterday.
Ashley is Jamaica's most decorated female boxer, having been world champion four times in a career as a professional.
She started fighting in 1999 and is still going strong. Ashley is eagerly awaiting the call to have another world-title fight. She should have fought this month against the current Super Bantamweight champion, Fatuma Zarika, but the main bout fell through and the fight card was cancelled.
To celebrate her 50th birthday on Wednesday, Ashley arranged to spar with 10 sparring partners for five minutes each, at her home gym, the famous Gleason's Gym in Brooklyn, New York. She said that one extra colleague insisted on getting in on the action, however, so she ended up sparring with 11 persons for 55 minutes.
"I actually felt like doing 50 rounds, but then decided against it. I had a great time, however, and some of the girls really got into it, and we had a lot of fun," she stated.
There was also an extra treat, she said, as world number-four ranked tennis player Elina Svitolina, from the Ukraine, engaged her services for some fitness lessons at the gym on Wednesday. Svitolina is in the USA for the US Open, which begins in New York on Monday.
Among other things, Svitolina did some pad work and stated afterwards that tennis and boxing had some things in common. She pointed out, said Ashley, that in both sports, "you need to find your openings and work out what you need to do to beat your opponent".
"My 50th birthday was wonderful and I have many pleasant memories. All I want now is a world-title fight,", she ended.